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A Biography of the English Language 3rd Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0495906414
ISBN-10: 0495906417
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"The book is very well written with a very appealing "voice" and is very clear in its explanations. It focuses appropriately on the most significant changes in the history of English."

"The text introduces concepts basic to the study of the development of any language, and then uses the concepts as a lens to specifically view the developmental periods of English."

About the Author

PHD in linguistics and English from Brown University; taught at U of Edinburgh, Univerisite Paul Valery in Monpelllier, France, and at Huazhon U of Science and Technology in Wuhan, China; recipient of many awards including a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, a Metcalf Award for Excellence in Teaching, and a Humanities Foundation grant. She was a Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh and was a member of many professional organizations.

Ph.D. from Univ of Iowa; now Director of Medieval Studies at the University of Mississippi.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Wadsworth Publishing; 3 edition (January 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0495906417
  • ISBN-13: 978-0495906414
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #267,528 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
For anyone interested in historical linguistics, Millward's textbook is the first you should read. Her dry sense of humor livens even the most dense chapters on inner history and spelling reform. The book is intended to serve as a text for a graduate course on the history of English, and it is useful for both experienced linguists as well as those who have no prior coursework in linguistics. The text begins with chapters on language, phonology, and writing to provide the novice with background on linguistics, phonology, and phonemic transcription. The chapters that follow on Old English, Middle English, Early Modern English, and Present Day English have dense, but easy to read, overviews of both inner and outer history of the language. Millward intersperses humorous vignettes with her main text and heightens the reader's appreciation for the language
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Format: Hardcover
This book was one of the first books to turn me onto the field of Linguistics. --BUT-- you don't need to be a linguist to enjoy this book. All you need is a curiosity in the history of the English language. Suddenly, all the crazy "rules" of grammar, and the seemingly senseless spelling of many words start to make sense. It is fascinating to see how the language has evolved, and you learn to appreciate the nature of language.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I had purchased this title for a course during my undergraduate studies called "History of the English Language." We didn't read the whole book but rather a good chunk of it. I found the book to be pretty straightforward in providing a history and exploration of the development and evolution of the English language; how the language spread and what adoptions have come from other languages to the one we speak today. I would definitely recommend it not only to enrolled students but anyone interested in the English language or linguistics in general.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is easily one of my top ten favorite books. It has everything you ever wanted to know about the history of the English language, and it does a really good job laying out its information. If I ever have a question about English, this is where I go for the answer. I highly recommend this to anyone interested in the English language.
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Format: Paperback
I was fortunate to have Celia Millward as a professor at Boston University. This book was the textbook for her own class on the history of the English language. The book offers an excellent history of the English language that I think any English speaker would find simply fascinating. We use this language every day, so it is interesting to know where it came from! It is also very readable and enjoyable--Mrs. Millward's wit and humor comes across as strongly as her knowledge as an authority on the subject. I highly recommend it.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There are books on the phonology and such of the English language. There are books on the history of the English language. There are books on the English language today, discussing how it varies from place to place. This book has the distinction of covering all, and covering them all very well. The historical linguistics part is particularly good, whth complete and detailed chapters on the stages from Old English to the present day, but going back to Indo-European. But the first chapter of the book, on present-day English phonology, is also very good. And so is the last one, on "English around the world."

The only point that could be criticized is the price -- extremely high. I got my copy as a used book on Amazon Marketplace. But I doubt that many would really want to pay over $100 for a book, no matter how good.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is extremely helpful and informative for anyone who works with the English language. It was the textbook required in my recent English class "The History of the English Language." I would rate it four or possibly even five stars IF, and this is a BIG if, the author had the courtesy of including page numbers along with location numbers in the Kindle version. This is a TEXT BOOK, and will probably be used along with many others in a class setting. Paying the same full price as the printed version for the luxury of having to ask the professor at every turn "What Chapter and paragraph are you reading from?" each time he told the rest of the class to look on page 'so-and-so' in the second paragraph. Absolutely worthless for use inside the classroom until this little issue is resolved. So buy a used book instead for classroom use. If this problem is eventually reconciled, then definitely buy the Kindle version, for the information in this book is worth having at hand wherever you may be writing. The search feature of the Kindle edition is great for finding the pages that contains the information you are seeking. Again, PAGE NUMBERS, PLEASE!
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Format: Hardcover
I used this text in a University of Tennessee at Chattanooga "History of the English Language" course for English majors. Millward does a wonderful job of explaining the information and her examples are recognizable and helpful. you will find yourself reading part out loud as you try and discover your own language usage. In fact, I think I would have enjoyed this book even reading it on my own. Language History is not explored enough, and this is a great text with which to begin
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